Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > News

A Breakdown of the Shutdown: What’s Going On With the Government?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

The United States narrowly avoided a federal government shutdown on Sunday, Oct. 1,  after Republican House members rejected a stopgap bill that would have funded the government momentarily and allowed Congress 30 more days to pass a budget for the 2024 fiscal year. Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, was able to push another bill through with House Democrat votes after getting it approved by the Senate and President Joe Biden late Saturday, Sept. 30. Congress will now stay open through mid-November, otherwise, all non-essential functions of the federal agencies would have stopped at midnight on Oct. 1 until a budget was passed. 

According to the Antideficiency Act, Congress (having the power of the purse) is responsible for approving the budgets of federal agencies. Congress must sign 12 appropriation bills into law every year to keep the government running. The bipartisan budget has already passed through the Senate with the approval of President Biden and is being held up in the House of Representatives. House Republicans are demanding that government spending be cut and that stronger border restrictions be included in the budget, refusing to approve of it until then.

What does this mean for government employees? What about the rest of the American citizens and residents? Over 4 million people are employed by the government, all of whom are facing the possibility of being furloughed. This means they will be on a temporary leave of absence, which could be having their work hours reduced, the number of days out of the week/month they work would be shortened, or they may not work at all. Additionally, government employees will not be paid for the duration of the shutdown, nor are they allowed to use vacation days or any kind of paid time off of work. The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 requires that government employees get paid for their worked hours after the shutdown ends, which could take weeks. Services that will be affected include the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and air traffic control, the Special Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among others. Congressmen, however, will continue to receive pay through the shutdown.   

As for Americans, this means the closing of national parks and the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has cautioned that its Disaster Relief Fund is at risk of depleting if emergency funding isn’t approved prior to the shutdown. This is particularly crucial as relief efforts are currently being conducted in both Florida and Hawai’i. Federal student loan servicers will also be shutting down on Oct. 1.

However, there are agencies that have either already received funding or are permanently funded. This includes the Postal Service, Social Security, Medicare, and Veteran Affairs benefits. The Internal Service Revenue (IRS) will also continue operations, due to Congress approving their funding last year.         

If Congress doesn’t hit its deadline, this will be the fourth shutdown in the past decade. The last time the government shutdown was in 2018 for 35 days, the longest shutdown in over 40 years. 380,000 government workers were furloughed, and an additional 420,000 worked without pay. Thankfully, and seemingly miraculously, the government will stay open for another 45 days for House Reps to come to a consensus on the 2024 budget. The sentiments of all Americans can best be summarized by Speaker McCarthy’s words before the House vote, “What I am asking, Republicans and Democrats alike, put your partisanship away. Focus on the American public.”

Adeesa is a junior at Pace University and Her Campus Pace's instagram assistant as well as a chapter contributor :) She posts on our chapter's Instagram page detailing information about our weekly meetings, promoting our club events, the publication of articles, and engaging content for our club members and followers. As for article writing, her pieces tend to be more news oriented (she's a poli sci major!). Adeesa enjoys spreading political awareness amongst her peers, and taking political issues that seem big and complex and making them easy to understand. Adeesa has been the Instagram assistant at HCP for two years, and previously was the Facebook assistant. In addition to Her Campus, Adeesa is a graphic designer for The Pace Press, Pace University's newspaper. She has been doing social media for three years now, since she was a junior in high school and promoting her Model UN team conferences. In her free time, Adeesa loves listening to music, watching rom-coms, and exploring New York. You can find her scrolling through TikTok, making (yet another) playlist, or at the nearest poke restaurant. If you need a poster designed or a friend to chat, Adeesa is your girl!